Saturday, October 8, 2016

Random Battlefield setup

My recent review of Dominance included a nod to the random table layouts that the author includes in the rules set, as a pretty neat resource for gamers.  I remember back when I played some Dominance, I had two renaissance armies (one infantry based - Swiss, and one cavalry based - French), and my friend and I who played the rules would randomly select one of the table diagrams in the book, and then dice for initiative in setup, and for side of table.  We would do our best to lay out the terrain based on what pieces we had (pretty easy), and off the whole shooting match went.

This got me to thinking, and looking around at different systems on blogs and in articles on random battlefield set up.

Over at Warfare in Miniature, there is a system that the author (James M) devised that is basically a PDF with six pages in it.  First you dice for a page in the document (1-6).  Then you toss two percentage dice, to generate a number from 1-100.  Consulting the page you rolled up, you will find a grid, with 8x9 squares on it, and with the numbers 1-97 on spaces in the grid.  If you roll 1-97, then the space you rolled is the upper box of your wargames table.

The orientation of the number, is the direction of "north" on your newly generated terrain area.  Green areas are forest, brown areas are hills. Red lines are roads, blue lines are rivers.  Green boxes are built up areas/fields.  Simple.

Each space on the grid represents 2'x2' on the gaming table, so you will have a grid of 3 spaces (or 6 feet), by 2 spaces (or 4 feet) to lay out your table in.  So for each of the six pages there are roughly 97 tables, that is a total of 585 tables, or something mathy like that.  But, the remaining three chances (98,99,100) for each page are also accounted for - they are tables that have homogeneous terrain over the whole surface.


Seriously, this is cool, try it out.  The article is Here.  The document is Here.

Another system that exists (and there are a number) that uses cards for the battlefields is the most excellent Battle Finder system from The Perfect Captain. As always, the rulesets from The Captain are free, although donations to charity are recommended by the authors.

Battle Finder is a complete campaign system, presented in a generic sense, although The Captain has developed some specialized adaptations for several medieval and renaissance games.  In short, you construct a campaign map (or scenarios in a linear or narrative campaign) using some easy to print out small cards, each of which has a nice 4x6 tabletop pictured on it.  Here are a few examples.


The Battle Finder system allows these cards, individually, to be mounted on a map that replicates a hex grid (each space connects to six surrounding spaces).  An individual card, printed and cut out, looks like this:

A most excellent system, and the campaign rules are terrific.

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